Hampton Court Palace Golf Club assistant pro John Powell is on course to realise his ambition of becoming a head PGA professional.

The 27-year-old, whose love for the game was cemented with an ace at a tiny par three course at the age of just 11, has got off to the almost perfect start in his three-year PGA foundation degree studies by finishing runner up in the Titleist rookie of the year awards.

Powell initially had thoughts of being a stockbroker on leaving school, but his love of golf stayed with him.

“I’m a little older than many of the other assistants, but this is definitely the career I want so I made sure when I started that I would give it my best shot,” said Powell, who spent three years getting his handicap low enough to turn pro.

“The whole course gives you a much broader understanding of the different roles of a PGA professional and has opened my eyes to the range of different careers within golf.

“I really enjoy interacting with the members and that kind of thing so I see myself as going down the head pro route.”

Powell has had a further two holes in one during his career, but admits the memories of the first one remains.

“I can remember the buzz and excitement of that hole in one as if it was yesterday and it really made me fall in love with golf,” he added.

“Although it was a bit of an horrific ace because I fatted a seven iron, which rolled up a bank and then down into the hole.

“As a kid you’d love to be involved in sport so to be a golf professional is something I really enjoy.”